The Categorical Imperative In Immanuel Kant's The Stranger

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The categorical imperative, to Immanuel Kant, is an overarching principle of acting towards others the way you would like for them to treat everybody else; a slight furtherance of the ‘Golden Rule’(Where your actions are based upon the way you would like them to treat you). The categorical imperative creates a moral basis based upon one’s understanding of their own individuality coupled with an empathetic understanding of those around them, based upon their precepts that they’ve come to understand about themselves. In Immanuel Kant’s book The Stranger, the main character, Meursault, acts strongly in accordance to his own character. He does not feel that he should have to hide or oppress his own self, a precept and principle that he has come …show more content…
The character, going by the name Meursault, acts in accordance to upholding the integrity of how true he is to himself, even if the rest of society does not recognize it as such, but as a proof of guilt for heinous crimes. In spite of the fact that he did not have the most glamorous character and infringed upon other people at times, he was not willing to let himself betray himself and who he was. To Kant, Meursault stands as an example of one whose individuality was violated. Meursault did not have a perfect or scuff free character, but his purpose was not to be an exemplar. Meursault was to stand up to preserving his self identity, which was being violated, Even when it came down to unjustly costing him his life. His purpose was to show regard for his individual rights which were being violated unjustly and unethically, which the categorical imperative should stand to protect. He refused to infringe and oppress his own identity. He did not put up a facade in front of everybody and pretend he was something else. Instead, he chose to live his identity out. Towards the end of Kant’s work, Meursault had wanted many people to witness his execution with cries of anger and hatred saying “I had only wish that there be a large crowd of spectators the day of my execution and that they greet me with cries of hate.” (The Stranger, Page 123). Why did he desire for many people to watch his death? If Meursault went out and cried out to the public begging for forgiveness, he would not only be betraying his self identity, but he would also just become a member of a collectivity, he would not be himself. This is why he desired his death to be such. It would take being true to his own identity to the very end. As stated, the categorical imperative is not entirely about other people, but is also heavily of yourself. The imperative creates a moral basis based upon one’s

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